1. Jack. The ageless Bear turns 70 this week, and as an early b-day present to himself he scooped up $350,000 with partner Tom Watson at the Senior Skins game. How cool is golf? You wouldn’t want to watch septuagenarian NBA veterans, but in our game the old-timers can still conjure some magic.
2. Ryan Palmer. After a rousing 72nd hole birdie at Sony, he now has three career victories. That’s more than Aaron Baddeley, Luke Donald, Charles Howell, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Ryan Moore, Justin Rose, Camilo Villegas and Nick Watney — to name just a few.
3. Hattiesburg, Miss. The Magnolia Classic is long gone, but little Hattiesburg is suddenly a focus of the golf world with tabloid reports that Tiger Woods is undergoing sex-addiction treatment there. Of course, one of the lessons of the ongoing Tiger saga is don’t believe everything you read.
4. Charl Schwartzel. Two wins in two weeks has elevated him from a talented tease to one of the best players in the world, 25-and-under division. The lanky South African is now 52 under par over his last 11 rounds, and up to 35th in the World Ranking.
5. Tim Finchem. The PGA Tour commish pulled another rabbit out of the hat, scrounging up a title sponsor for next week’s tourney at Torrey Pines at the last possible moment. Maybe this’ll make him less testy at his next press conference.
1. The Bob Hope field. Eight of the top 14 are competing against each other this week in the desert … of Abu Dhabi.
2. Robert Allenby. With another blown opportunity at the Sony, it has been more than eight years since his last PGA Tour victory. But mediocrity can still be quite fulfilling: in that stretch Allenby has banked an astonishing $17 million.
3. Rickie Fowler. You might have to go back to the fall of ’96, when a certain Stanford undergrad turned pro, to find comparable amounts of hype over a Tour rookie. Maybe this pressure was a factor in young Rickie’s awful season debut at the Sony. He’ll bounce back, but 75-72 to finish eight spots from DFL is not the start he or various multinational corporations wanted.
4. Ping Eye2s. Twenty years later these clubs are still causing problems.
5. 2018 Ryder Cup. According to GolfWeek, the raffle, er, selection process for 2018 consists of six sites across Europe, only two of which currently boast actual golf courses. The other four are under construction or merely the figments of someone’s imagination. Hard to believe the course itself is such a secondary concern for these extravaganzas.
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